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'Idol' contestant booted over scandal

Clark
Corey Clark

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LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- It's more than just a talent contest. The would-be pop stars competing on the Fox reality hit "American Idol" seem these days to be running into trouble over past personal scandals.

A month after Fox disqualified a singer from the show amid revelations that she had posed topless on an Internet porn site, the network said Monday it was expelling another finalist, Corey Clark, who is facing trial on misdemeanor charges of battery against his sister and resisting arrest.

Fox said in a statement that Clark "withheld information about a prior arrest which, had it been known, might have affected his participation in the show."

"Due to his failure to disclose, compounded by an error in a police report which misspelled Corey's name, the incident was not discovered during a background check," Fox said. "The producers and network feel that Corey's behavior warrants his disqualification."

The charges against the 22-year-old Kansas native stem from an arrest at his family's home in Topeka last October, months before he was picked as one of 32 semifinalists for the second edition of "American Idol," which debuted in January.

As of last Wednesday, he was one of nine remaining finalists who could be seen performing on the show twice a week. Fox said no decision has been made about whether Clark will be replaced on the show.

Clark's arrest record first came to light in a report posted on the Web site The Smoking Gun (http://www.thesmokinggun.com), which is known for unearthing obscure legal records dealing with numerous celebrities and entertainment figures.

Clark is the third "American Idol" contestant ejected from the show this year because of a checkered past.

Frenchie Davis, a 23-year-old competitor whose powerhouse vocals dazzled the judges and made her a strong contender for the title, was dismissed from the show in February following the discovery that she posed topless on a porn site that purports to feature pictures of underage girls. Davis was reportedly over 18 at the time.

Earlier, "American Idol" semi-finalist Jaered Andrews was kicked off the program after it came to light that he had been arrested on an assault charge in connection with a bar fight in Pennsylvania that ended with a man's death. Fox officials said they learned of Andrew's arrest on their own after he had made the cut as one of 32 semi-finalists but before the first episode aired in January.

A fourth contestant, finalist Lashundra Cobbins, 22, was arrested on a theft charge in Tennessee in 1999 but has since successfully completed a pretrial diversion program and had her criminal record expunged. Unlike the others, Fox said, Cobbins disclosed her background in advance and was allowed to remain on the show.



Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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